Tag, You’re It: NFL Franchise Tag Update – 2018 Offseason

By Ha Kung Wong 

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

Fun fun!  The Franchise Tag deadline is here!  And if you think this doesn’t matter, just ask Kirk Cousins what he thinks of that after he was tagged last year for the umpteenth time for a $21M one-year deal.  I don’t know about you, but I could probably live on $21M a year.  Sure, I might have to cut a few corners here and there, like only 1 helicopter, not 2, but I’m pretty sure I could make it work.

I’d be so rich that I wouldn’t even bother to turn off the headlights after I park.

Anyway, that was last year, and we all know that Cousins is now destined to make EVEN MORE money than that.  But the point is that the Franchise Tag matters in the NFL, and this year, teams were required to apply the Franchise Tag by 4 PM ET on Tuesday, March 6th.  And if they did so, they have until 4 PM ET on July 16th to work out a long-term deal, or proceed on the one-year deal.  The Transition Tag doesn’t have the same deadline.

But what does all this Franchise Tag and Transition Tag stuff mean?  Let me try to help.

An Exclusive Franchise Tag provides the tagged player a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position as of the end of restricted free agency of the current year (April 20 this year) in which the tag will apply, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. The tagged player cannot negotiate with other teams.

A Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag provides the tagged player a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position last year, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater.  It sounds like it’s calculated similarly to the Exclusive Franchise Tag, but ends up being slightly less at each position.  As an example, in 2014, QBs received $16.91M as an exclusive tag while getting $16.08M as a non-exclusive tag.  In exchange for the slightly lesser offer, a non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if the player signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer and thus loses the player, is entitled to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

A Transition Tag provides the tagged player a one-year salary that equals the average of the 10 highest-paid players at his position and allows him to negotiate with other teams. His original team can decide whether to match or not match other offers. If they decide not to match, the new team does not have to send compensation and gets the player.

Here are the numbers released by the NFL:

Remember, until a Franchise Tag is signed, the team offering CAN rescind it.  That’s exactly what the Carolina Panthers did to Josh Norman two years ago.  So Franchise Tags are not set in stone if it’s not signed.  Note that Transition Tags can also be rescinded, but then can’t be used again until the following year.

And without further to do, here’s who’s been tagged so far in the 2018 NFL offseason including their 2017 stats.

Miami Dolphins – Jarvis Landry – WR

Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

Status: Expected to Sign

2017 Stats: 16 Games, 161 Targets, 112 Receptions, 987 receiving yards, 9 receiving TDs

Detroit Lions – Ezekiel Ansah – DE

Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

Status: Not Signed

2017 Stats: 14 Games, 39 Tackles, 5 Assisted Tackles, 12 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble

Dallas Cowboys – Demarcus Lawrence – DE

Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

Status: Signed

2017 Stats: 16 Games, 35 Tackles, 23 Assisted Tackles, 14.5 Sacks, 1 Pass Defensed, 4 Forced Fumbles

Los Angeles Rams – Lemarcus Joyner – S

Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

Status: Not Signed

2017 Stats: 12 Games, 39 Tackles, 10 Assisted Tackles, 9 Pass Defenses, 1 Forced Fumble, 3 Interceptions, 1 TD

Pittsburgh Steelers – Le’Veon Bell – RB

Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

Status: Not Signed

2017 Stats: 15 Games, 321 Rushes, 1291 Rush Yards, 9 Rushing TDs, 106 Targets, 85 Receptions, 655 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving TDs

Chicago Bears – Kyle Fuller – CB

Transition Tag

2017 Stats: 16 Games, 60 Tackles, 8 Assisted Tackles, 22 Pass Defenses, 2 Interceptions

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